Don Cheadle set out to make an amazing movie that moves like Davis’ experimental records did. Laced with the notes of Sketches of Spain and Kind of Blue, Cheadle’s directorial debut is as much a look inside the world of the composer, bandleader and trumpet player as it is a (fictionalized) gun-wielding caper in which a Rolling Stone reporter tags along one cocaine-fueled night as Davis hunts down his stolen session tape from a shady music executive.
The tale bounces between Davis’ prolific years and his marriage to Frances Taylor to a five-year span in the 1970s when the musician put his talent on ice, as he wrestled with drugs and chronic pain from a degenerative hip condition. The silence fascinated Cheadle. “How does that happen?” he asks. “And how do you come out of that?”
Critics are raving about Cheadle’s portrayal. “This is probably Cheadle’s most electrified performance since the one (in Devil In a Blue Dress) that made him a star,” wrote New York Magazine. The Hollywood Reporter said Cheadle not only nailed the rasp (Davis permanently damaged his voice by yelling after a throat surgery in 1955), eccentric irritability and paranoia but expertly “conveys the idea of a man who was always composing and arranging in his head, haunted as much by past successes as personal failings.”
Yet it took 10 years for Cheadle to get Miles Ahead to theaters, and the story is now infamous how Cheadle had to write in a major white character to get the movie made. “Until we had Ewan McGregor, until there was the white co-lead in the movie, there was nothing that was going to happen,” says the actor, who strung together financing from investors, friends, crowdfunding and his own wallet.
And watch his hands carefully: That’s really Cheadle playing the trumpet. The actor began playing in his youth and started studying seriously again four years ago for the role. “The trumpet is one of the meanest and hardest instruments that there is,” he says. “I still practice every day.”
Phenomenal Woman Awards
The precursor to “The Black Women’s Expo” in Chicago, April 8 – 10 @ McCormick Place. An incredible group of women are being honored this year – Thursday, April 7th!
Beyoncé has unveiled a new clothing line, Ivy Park. The clothes will be available April 14 via Topshop, Nordstrom, Net-A-Porter, and other sellers. She previewed the athleisure styles on Instagram and in a YouTube video. The Ivy Park website also includes instrumental snippets that you can change by clicking and holding, featuring recent single “Formation” but also what appears to be previously unreleased music, some of which is included in the video.
Whoopi Sells Weed
Whoopi Goldberg is launching a medical-marijuana company with Maya Elisabeth, one of the leading “canna-businesswomen” in the medicinal marijuana industry, with a line of products designed to provide relief from menstrual cramps.
The company, Maya & Whoopi, will offer cannabis edibles, tinctures, topical rubs, and a THC-infused bath soak that it describes as “profoundly relaxing.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair Magazine, The View co-host said she wanted to create a product for women that was discreet, provided relief, and wouldn’t leave you glued to your couch.
“For me, I feel like if you don’t want to get high high, this is a product specifically just to get rid of discomfort,” she says. “Smoking a joint is fine, but most people can’t smoke a joint and go to work.”
“This, you can put it in your purse,” Goldberg continues. “You can put the rub on your lower stomach and lower back at work, and then when you get home you can get in the tub for a soak or make tea, and it allows you to continue to work throughout the day.”
If you decided you want the relief without the ‘high’, Whoopi & Maya will also include products with only cannabidiol which lacks the euphoric effects commonly associated with marijuana.
The whole line is scheduled to be available in April and only in California.
More Bill Cosby Lawsuits
Janice Dickinson’s defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby should proceed, a judge ruled saying that a trial could determine whether the model’s claims that Cosby drugged and raped her three decades ago were true.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Debre Katz Weintraub ruled that a jury can decide the credibility of Dickinson’s allegations and whether a statement by Cosby’s former lawyer that branded her a liar amounted to defamation. In making the ruling, the judge said she was not determining the credibility of either party’s claims but was deciding instead whether the matter was worthy of trial.
Dickinson is among more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual abuse.
“I want Bill Cosby in court,” Dickinson said after the ruling. “I want him to stand under oath.”
Dickinson sued Cosby in May, after he denied her allegation that he drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe in 1982.
Cosby’s legal team sought to dismiss the suit, alleging that Dickinson’s story about her interactions with Cosby had changed over the years.
From beef to brotherhood, Ice Cube and Common have teamed up to release their newest video for “Real People.” The track comes on the heels of the release of their film, Barbershop: The Next Cut, which hits theaters April 15th the lyrics and theme of the song suggest much more.
The collaboration follows a mid-1990s beef that saw both parties release diss records at one another. This was before Minister Louis Farrakhan created a gathering for Cube, Common, and others at the Nation Of Islam headquarters in Chicago.
Both artists get real in their lyrics and thematics suggest the historic beef that dated back to the early 90’s is officially squashed between the two men.
Its nice to see rappers put away petty beefs.
Brandy and Her Label Issues
R&B singer Brandy has filed a lawsuit against her label, claiming that Chameleon Entertainment Group has blocked her from recording new music. Her most recent album was 2012’s Two Eleven.
Brandy filed the suit claiming that her deal with Chameleon gave the label the option of releasing four more albums, but alleging that they have kept her from recording new material in the last four years. The singer also claims that the label’s refusal to let her record music is in an attempt to get her to sign on to a new recording deal. According to the lawsuit, Brandy has dissolved her contract with Chameleon, but wants a judge’s ruling that it is void.